Telstra calls cops on frustrated NBN customer but they help him instead

By @chelean on
A man uses his mobile phone in front of a Telstra logo in central Sydney, August 13, 2009. Reuters/Daniel Munoz

Telstra’s customer service was improved when police got involved. A Sydney Telstra store had called cops on an irate customer who has had enough with the telco’s inaction to his problems. However, instead of taking the customer out of the store, the three police officers negotiated with the staff on his behalf to solve his internet crisis.

Over the weekend, Matt Dooley recounted his frustrating experience with Telstra’s tech support that started in September when he chose an NBN plan through Telstra. Technicians came to his new home and failed to install his setup properly.

He spent hours on the phone trying to get Telstra to fix his NBN connection but got nowhere with it. He also took his complaints to the industry ombudsman. However, he found out that he was just one of the many who had complained about their telco provider.

Having had enough, he went to the telco’s Marrickville Metro store with his girlfriend for an impromptu sit-in. He had managed to get his NBN cable installed, but he still needed a modem, router and cable. He told the staff what he needed. However, the staff apparently refused to help him and Dooley refused to leave until his issue got resolved. Telstra then called on security and then the police to remove him from the store.

Instead of removing Dooley from the store, the officers appeared to have sided with him. Probationary Constable Christopher Williams, Senior Constable Scott McCarthy and Detective Cameron Thomas negotiated with the Telstra staff on his behalf.

“The cops kind of took our side,” Dooley was quoted by the Sydney Morning Herald as saying. “They understood. They used their excellent negotiating skills to negotiate what I hadn’t been able to in the last four months. One was very technically minded and got it. He knew what we needed.”

Dooley said he didn’t even have to talk to the staff because the cop ran back and forth between them. The officers had been so successful in their negotiation that the things he needed were delivered to his house the next day.


His woe with Telstra wasn’t over, though. He finally received a response from Telstra, but not the one who needed or expected. He was sent a suspension notice, which he said contained incorrect charges.

Dooley knew he was lucky that cops who were sent to kick him out of the store actually helped him with his problem. However, he also noted that many others were not so lucky. Telstra said it was investigating the incident.

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